Sparta: Famous quotes about Spartan life

Sparta: Famous quotes about Spartan life Reconstruction of Spartan food, from The Greeks documentary


Inward-looking and self-sufficient, the Spartans were the most feared hoplites (infantrymen) in all Greece. They lived an austere life, despising any sort of luxury, in a city that contained neither walls, nor grand buildings.

Famous quotes and anecdotes associated with the Spartans:

Herodotus reports that just before the Battle of Thermoplyae, a Spartan warrior named Dienekes was told that the Persian archers could blank out the sun with their arrows. He replied "Good, then we shall have our battle in the shade."

A Sybarite, who ate at a public mess, once remarked: "Now I know why the Spartans do not fear death."

Asked what was the greatest benefit Lycurgus conferred on his countryman, King Agesilaus replied "Contempt of pleasure."

"Come back with your shield - or on it" (Plutarch, Mor.241) was supposed to be the parting cry of mothers to their sons. Mothers whose sons died in battle openly rejoiced, mothers whose sons survived hung their heads in shame.

Asked why it was dishonorable to return without a shield and not without a helmet, the Spartan king, Demaratos (510 - 491) is said to have replied: "Because the latter they put on for their own protection, but the shield for the common good of all." (Plutarch, Mor.220)

An old man wandering around the Olympic Games looking for a seat was jeered at by the crowd until he reached the seats of the Spartans, whereupon every Spartan younger than him, and some that were older, stood up and offered him their seat. The crowd applauded and the old man turned to them with a sigh, saying "All Greeks know what is right, but only the Spartans do it."




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